January 24, 2017
Four Republican members of the Montana House pitched four bills to the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that aim to change the state’s gun laws, including allowing anyone to carry a concealed pistol without a permit.
Rep. Randy Brodehl of Kalispell said House Bill 246 reaffirms a Montanan’s right to possess firearms in a U.S. post office or in the parking lot, contradictory to a federal regulation.
“Would the post office really enforce this law? Yes, they would,” said Brodehl, citing a court case from Colorado. A federal appeals court in 2015 said the post office’s regulation was constitutional.
The bill was supported by the Montana Shooting Sports Association. It was opposed by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, the Montana Human Rights Network, and the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police.
Montana City’s Rep. Kirk Wagoner explained that House Bill 251 amends the state’s concealed weapon law by removing “dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife having a blade 4 inches long or longer, razor, not including a safety razor” and replacing it with ‘firearm’ or other deadly weapon.”
“The sword cane, I hear they might still make those, but I don’t know how you would conceal a cane,” Wagoner quipped.
The Montana Shooting Sports Association supported the bill. It was opposed by the Montana Credit Union Network whose lobbyist said its members post signs limiting weapons inside, and that the change “might make those signs less meaningful.”
House Bill 262 by Rep. Bill Harris, R-Winnett, allows anyone in Montana to carry a concealed weapon so long as they are “eligible to possess a handgun under state or federal law.” It would effectively nullify the state’s law requiring a sheriff-reviewed permit for concealed carry in cities and towns.